We’ve all been there, right? Your older sister was good at math, so everyone thinks you should be, too. Your brother is a talented athlete, while you can’t make a basket on the kiddie hoop. Sigh. We are human, oh so human.
Garvey is in this very spot, with a dad who seems to think if he just wishes or pushes hard enough, Garvey will also love sports and want to be an athlete. It’s his way of trying to find a connection with his son, but for Garvey it’s like he’s always being told he’s not enough. Garvey has talents, lots of them, which he’s still discovering, thanks to friends and teachers and an understanding mom, but he’s not confident enough at first to just BE WHO HE IS. We really have all been there.
Nikki Grimes does some elegant work here, creating a novel in verse that will speak to kids of all kinds of talents. Garvey never felt like just a character to me. Instead, the words took me back to moments in my own life when I wish I’d had the gumption to tell people to let me be who I was, that I liked who I was. I think a lot of kids (and hopefully adults, too) will find themselves in Garvey and maybe appreciate their own talents a little more by reading this one.
Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes
A few other great novels in verse:
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai